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Applying For Social Housing

If you cannot afford your own home, or your current home doesn't meet your requirements, then you may wish to apply to join the council's housing register. Means testing and local connection criteria may apply.

How to apply to the housing waiting list

You can apply for social rented housing within the borough by completing our online application form. The form is available on the Kent Homechoice website.

Once you have submitted your form and documents it can take up to eight weeks for us to make an assessment of your application. We will then contact you. We will provide details of your application priority and how you can express an interest in available properties.

If you had an active application before 03 July 2023

If your application was active (able to bid) prior to 03 July 2023 Kent Homechoice is now open for you to create your portal using your name and email address to log back in. Please create a new password.

If your application was not active (you were not able to bid) before this date, it may be that you need to apply again.

Further information and advice about the system change is available via our dedicated FAQ section.

What to do if you're about to be homeless

The housing register is unable to assist in an emergency situation and so if you are at threat of homelessness, please contact us for advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ How long will it take to process my application for the housing register?

At this time the wait to make a new application Live from start to finish is approximately 12 weeks.

This is because we have a high volume of applications every month which take a great deal of time to work through. We process them in date order in the interest of fairness to all of our applicants, and we will not prioritise the assessment of an application unless it is evidenced that the situation is critical.

Please do not repeatedly contact us to ask about the status of your application unless it is URGENT as such enquiries only increase our workload and lengthen the time that it takes for us to conduct our work.

Please allow two weeks for response to correspondence or an enquiry and 6 to 12 weeks for an assessment.

+ Once I am registered, how long is the wait for an offer of social housing?

We are unable to give an accurate timescale, and can only ever supply an estimate or average.

If you are Band C or below, you should explore the private sector as it is highly unlikely that we will be able to assist you within the foreseeable future. If you are Band B or A then it is more likely that we will be able to assist you and this should be within a few years.

The  higher the priority the less time you should need to wait. However, if you require a specialist property, a particular area or something that we have in low supply such as a wheelchair accessible home or four bedrooms plus then it could still take months or even many years regardless of the priority that you have due to stock availability.

For an indication of your rank you should view your Kent Homechoice account which will show feedback in relation to past bids.

+ What if I am homeless or at threat of becoming homeless?

Under our Lettings Policy, we are unable to prioritise applications from homeless households or those at threat of homelessness unless there are additional needs that need to be taken into consideration i.e. you would be unable to go into Temporary Accommodation or the private sector.

If you are homeless or at threat of becoming homeless, the housing register is unlikely to be able to assist you and so you must obtain advice from our Housing Options Team via the self referral link.

+ Why is the wait for social housing so long?

Typically those in Band A will have a wait of around one to two years and those in Band B will have a wait of around three to four dependant on availability of suitable accommodation.

+ How can I attain a higher band on the register to improve my chances?

If you feel that the severity of your situation is not reflected in your Band, you can ask us to review it for you.

Please check your situation against the band summary at Section 34 of the Lettings Policy [pdf] 513KB.

If you feel that your assessment is incorrect please tell us why. It is important to understand that unless a situation is very severe in terms of medical / welfare need or overcrowding, we will be unable to raise your band above Band C.

This may mean that we are unable to assist you in securing alternative accommodation.

It is likely that we will require evidence of the severity of your situation from an independent medical / welfare professional before we can consider any reassessment. We may ask that you refer yourself for a Housing Needs Assessment by an OT or that you provide us with a Medical Assessment Form so that we have permission to write to your GP on your behalf.

+ What was my rank for a property?

We are unable to advise as to your specific rank on the housing register or for a specific shortlist as answering such enquiries will prevent us from undertaking our usual work with regard to assessments or allocations. Please observe the feedback on Kent Homechoice.

+ Why am I being shown properties that do not suit my needs?

Your account will show you all properties that the system thinks may be suitable based on size alone. 

We will send you a letter / email to advise you of what we consider you eligible for in terms of size and type.

You are responsible for placing the bids unless you need the computer to do this for you. If you need a particular area or have specific needs you should only bid for the properties that you feel will be suitable.

+ Why did my position on the shortlist change?

Applicants can place bids for the duration of an advert which is 5 days. At list closure, the shortlist may be “filtered” to show only those that meet the criteria stated in the advert and so your position may move up or you may be marked as “not prioritised”.

If your rank changes in this way, please check the advert content before contacting us to query this as you may be able to easily see that you did not met the stated criteria. Please note detail in the text and the icons on the advert.

The filter may be added or removed by the Property Officer while they are making their checks until the offer is made. The resulting final feedback will be on your Kent Homechoice account.

+ Why was I “not prioritised” for an offer of accommodation?

There are many reasons why you may have been bypassed or “not prioritised” for an offer of accommodation. The criteria for prioritising a property will in most cases be stated on the full property advert in the form of an advert icon or as text stating the prioritised group (although at times the reason simply sits within our Lettings Policy) .

You could be bypassed or not prioritised regardless of your Band Award for the following reasons:

  • you did not have a rural location connection to the village concerned i.e. you have not lived or worked in the village where the property in question is located

  • you were not in the prioritised group i.e. you are a Transfer and the property was advertised with priority to a Homeseeker

  • you did not meet the age criteria i.e. a property with an age restriction of 50 plus

  • we have no confirmation on file that you require the adaptions available within a property i.e. you do not require a flush floor shower or wheelchair access

Each allocation is carefully considered by a Property Officer and we will not bypass you for an offer without a reason.

+ I have a housing need but I’m not getting anywhere, what are my options?

Demand for social housing far exceeds supply with those in the highest need taking priority and receiving the offers of accommodation. Regrettably, those in Band C or below are unlikely to have success in the foreseeable future despite having a housing need and so we recommend that you seek to resolve your own housing need in the private sector where possible.

Many applicants in Band C will ask us what their options are as they cannot afford the private sector and are having no success on the housing register. Unfortunately, we have no solution for this and all that we can advise is that you continue to consider both options while you try to manage the situation in the best way that you can. Many households choose to move to a different area where accommodation is more affordable, some save for a deposit on a private rent while they wait and others use their property differently to ease the situation while they wait (perhaps releasing the bedrooms for children while the parents utilise the lounge space with a sofa bed).

+ I have refused an offer of accommodation, will I receive another soon?

Unfortunately, unless you are Band A,  receiving one offer will not necessary guarantee you another within swift succession. It is even possible that another offer may never be made and so refusals should be considered with caution.

We recommend that you consider all refusals carefully as two unreasonable refusals within 12 months will result in a 6 month suspension.

If you are a Homeless category applicant, a refusal may affect our duty to assist you and result in the ending of any temporary accommodation provided.

+ My property is in a poor state of repair, what are my options?

If your property is suitable in size and type for your needs we may be unable to consider the disrepair when assessing your housing need.

If you rent from a private landlord or housing association and your property has outstanding repair issues you should contact your landlord in the first instance to request that they make the defects good. If they are not responding to your request appropriately you may wish to contact a Private Sector Officer here on 01233 3311111 for advice.

Please be aware that damp and mould are common in properties where there is a high level of overcrowding (and this can even be the sole cause) and so you should take every effort to ensure that your property is heated and ventilated appropriately. You should also try to wipe away condensation from surfaces and keep possessions to a minimum where possible to allow effective air circulation.

If you rent from Ashford Borough Council you should contact the Repairs Team on 01233 33111 to request an inspection of your property.  The officer will then schedule any works that need to be undertaken if the disrepair is a result of a structural issues.

+ I am not able to log in to Kent Homechoice?

If your application was made quite recently (within 12 weeks) it may still be in the queue for assessment. The timescale for assessment is typically 12 weeks although it can take longer at times of high demand.

Once it has been processed by a Property Officer, we will contact you with your assessment details.

+ Why do your property adverts on Kent Homechoice advise to check the long term flood risk for the area?

Flooding is an increasing problem in some parts of the UK. Luckily, it is not yet a significant problem for Ashford (only a small proportion of our properties are affected by the threat) but it is useful to be aware of the long term flood risk for any property that you may wish to rent whether it be social or private. Having the awareness can assist you to make the decision as to whether you wish to rent the property or if you should have contents insurance to cover an losses should the worst happen. Ashford Borough Council cannot advise you as to the flood risk and so we provide the web link for our customers to self help.

+ Why do I have automated bids on my Kent Homechoice account?

Automated bids can be added to any account where there is a need. An example of the need may be where the applicant has limited access to the internet or understanding of how to use the internet and is without support. The automated bids are made by the system on your behalf and will bid for any property of the correct size. We can also tailor the bids to match your area requirements.

You will only be offered a property if it is deemed suitable when matched against the information that we hold on your file.

Any applicant can ask for automated bidding but it is mandatory for the following groups:

  • Transfer applicants that have been awarded Band A under the Management Move criteria
  • Homeless applicants (i.e. you are occupying temporary accommodation provided by Ashford Borough Council or have an accepted homeless case)

+ How can I access Extra Care Housing?

If you are over 55 and wish to be considered for Extra Care Sheltered Accommodation, your housing application will need to be supported by Adult Social Services.

Visit the KCC website for information about Extra Care and how to request an assessment of your need for care.